Latest Alabama news, sports, business and entertainment


Authorities: 59-year-old man killed by falling tree in storm

WEST POINT, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say a Cullman County man was struck and killed by a falling tree during a powerful storm that hit the area.

Multiple media outlets report that authorities say 59-year-old Randy Blackwood was killed while out in his yard in the West Point community during a storm Tuesday evening.

The county's coroner Jeremy Kilpatrick says Blackwood was putting his lawnmower away when the storm winds knocked a tree onto him.

Authorities say Blackwood was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities are still investigating.

Officials say storms on Tuesday caused heavy damage and power outages across the area, with heavy rainfall and powerful winds.


Former Dothan police officer charged with identity thefts

(Information in the following story is from: The Dothan Eagle,

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — A former Dothan police officer is charged with stealing the identities of military service members that he served with before joining the police force.

The Dothan Eagle reports 28-year-old Charles Thomas Simmer faces a total of 20 felony charges — including 15 counts of identity theft. He was first arrested in March and new charges were added over the weekend after two new victims came forward.

Dothan police investigator Erik Broten says Simmer used information on people he served with in the military to open credit card accounts. Broten says that Simmer initially claimed to be a victim of identity theft himself.

Simmer resigned after serving less than a year as a Dothan police officer. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.


Carl's housing startup buys Alabama manufacturer

(Information in the following story is from: The Greenwood Commonwealth,

GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — C3 Designs Inc. a luxury modular housing startup in Greenwood, has bought an Alabamabased home manufacturer.

Franklin Homes, located in Russellville, Alabama, has produced modular residential and commercial buildings for the past 46 years. The terms of the deal were not released.

C3 Designs owner Fred Carl Jr. tells The Greenwood Commonwealth that Franklin will continue producing its own product line as Franklin Structures LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of C3 Design.

Carl says his company will invest in infrastructure, updating and expanding the Franklin product.

C3 Design was founded in 2014 by Carl, the founder and former chief executive of Viking Range Corp. The company is planning to manufacture and market prefabricated high-end modular homes and specialty "lifestyle" buildings through a network of select dealers, builders and developers.


NAACP suggests removal of battle flag from trooper uniforms

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama chapter of the NAACP says it's time to remove the Confederate battle flag from state troopers' uniforms and patrol vehicles.

Rev. Robert Shanklin of the NAACP's Huntsville chapter told local media the flag is offensive and should not be included in uniforms state troopers wear or on the vehicles they drive. The battle flag is part of the Alabama state seal.

The flag has come under renewed scrutiny since nine black churchgoers were fatally shot during Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina. The man charged in the shooting had been photographed with the flag numerous times.

Some have said the flag represents Southern heritage. Others have said the symbol is divisive and white supremacy is at the heart of the heritage the flag represents.


Sylacauga police chief tapped for state law enforcement post

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A central Alabama police chief has been chosen to serve as law enforcement coordinator for the state attorney general's office.

State Attorney General Luther Strange said Tuesday that Sylacauga Police Chief Chris Carden will serve as the new law enforcement coordinator for his office. Carden is replacing former Sylacauga police chief Louis Zook and is scheduled to begin in his new role July 27.

Officials say Carden will be responsible for developing training programs, notifying agencies of changes in criminal law, coordinating communication to law enforcement agencies, and working with an advisory committee.

Officials say Carden has more than 25 years of experience and served as a military police officer and investigator before he started working in local law enforcement.